Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

January 22, 2018

Black & White Challenge; day four and weird beach creatures

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 7:54 pm


Beach Study, Crystal Cove State Park, December* 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While working on my next beach study for my black & white challenge, I started to see something interesting in the abstract shapes. Somewhat like finding faces or animals in the cloud formations. When I did a 180 degree inversion of the image, I realized I had found a very weird beach creature, or potentially two, perhaps with one riding the other, lurking in the sand. It will be interesting to find out if others see what I see in the comments, especially since I am not to provide any explanation with my Facebook post.

I love this aspect of serendipity when I experiment and play with my images! I don’t think that I will start looking for more of these, but I will sure will be more open to looking at what I find on the sand. Could make walking the beach all that more fun, as if walking on the ocean beach was not already a ton of fun.

Also a note for fellow photographers; one aspect that might have made this composition easier to work with is that the day was foggy and overcast, thus an indirect flat light without strong shadows to contend with.

Please join me on Tumblr: @douglasstockdale & Twitter: @Doug_Stockdale, and of course, Instagram @douglasstockdale

* Limited time print offer: a 7 x 7″ black & white print is available for 24 hours after this post for a special price of $150 USD plus shipping. This black & white print size regularly sells for $300 USD. Archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Matte (305 gsm), paper size is 8-1/2 x 11″, Edition size of 10 and the print will be signed and numbered in pencil. email me: for details.


January 16, 2018

Walking were it might be “Hazardous”


Signage, Arroyo Trabuco trail, January* 2018 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While walking the Arroyo Trabuco trail I have noticed a number of really deteriorated signs with a wire mesh that appeared to have covered the missing signage. All of these were in really bad condition, thus I could only speculate what was there. This seemed to provide some visual opportunities to leverage these ambiguous situations to my own advantage.

Yesterday I noted one such sign lurking in the shadows of a couple of large bushes. After investigating I found that this posted sign was in the best condition of any of these, but still a very major challenge reading the extremely faded text. This is the first sign I have found where the wire mesh to protect the signage appears still in tact. I had hoped that my close-up and conversion to black & white in Photoshop might tease out the text a little better. Nope. Since this was photographed with my mobile phone, I will try again with the Canon 5DMk3 and when it’s fixed, I do plan to re-shoot this composition with the Hasselblad & color film.

In retrospect, my previous post of the UXO signage was perhaps a little too photo-documentary and did not garner much interest as a singular image. This photo may still work in the context of a book, so still in consideration.

Nevertheless, the resulting image is still great, I love that it has some slight hints as to the text while remaining very ambiguous, perhaps even a bit abstract. This potential image is diffidently on my list for Gardening for Ordnance project. I also think it is a great candidate for the 120mm Makro with the Hasselblad, so more about how that turns out for another day.

Btw, from what I could read: Keep Out Hazardous Area. Found adjacent to the Plano Trabuco Practice Bombing range (active: WWII and Korean War).

Please join me on Instagram: @douglasstockdale

* Limited time print offer: a 7 x 7″ black & white print is available for 24 hours after this post for a special price of $150 USD plus shipping. This print size regularly sells for $300 USD. Archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Matte (305 gsm), paper size is 8-1/2 x 11″, Edition size of 10 and the print will be signed and numbered in pencil.


January 14, 2018

Morning walk – Path to Somewhere

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:17 pm


Tijeras Creek trail December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Realizing that I am…

1.) continuing to take morning walks and…

2.) I bring a camera to document some aspect of this experience, I…

3.) realize I have a formal photographic project in process and (finally)..

4.) have given it a working title: Path to Somewhere.

Thus I have opened a digital file on my network to start collecting these images that I think might be considered for a future photobook. One thing that I will do shortly is to tag the earlier posts with this same category name for the side bar.

I am still waiting on the repair of the Hasselblad body as I expect to convert this project to using color film. The fact that I am currently using digital capture in and of itself does not preclude me from considering these images for a future publication. Its all good!

btw, I am posting an earlier image since today is going to be a rest and recover day, yesterday walking out of the arroyo I felt the leg burn and realized that I needed a day of recovery. So today I will do a light work-out with some weights in conjunction with some back yoga.

Creatively I am working in the studio on the book dummy for Middle Ground. More about that progress shortly ;- )


January 2, 2018

Morning walks – staying off the grid

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:52 pm


Tijeras Creek Trail, December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Earlier I had discussed how my morning walks have taken a bit of detour off into the “wild” as a trade-in for the neighborhood sidewalks and my usual route for the past many years. After a number of experiment/play photographs documenting my walks with the cell phone camera, I thought it was time to bring some other camera equipment to further explore this photographic project. In preparation for the next phase of investigation, I instead encountered the Hasselblad jamnation.

When faced with lemons, my motto is to make lemonade; so while my 500 C/M body is being fixed, I opted to take my walks with the 5DMk3 with the 50mm EF f/1.4 canon prime lens and not even bring along the 24-105mm zoom. The 50mm “normal” lens would be the equivalent focal length for my 80mm lens with the Hasselblad. I wanted to contemplate that when restricted to just this “normal” prime lens focal length, might this work in my visual investigation and are consistent with my earlier cell phone experience.

After my return to the studio and downloading the digital files, the next step was to crop the image square, similar to the Hasselblad 6x6cm format. Still teetering between color and black & white images, and maybe even incorporate both into this project. Meanwhile, still using Photoshop for the digital black & white conversion. For film, I am thinking of using color negative versus color positive and after scanning the negatives, converting with Photoshop to black & white as an option to evaluate.



December 24, 2017

Happy Holidays & a Great New Year!

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 9:02 pm


Christmas card, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Wishing everyone the very best for the holidays and a great New Year! Although we celebrate Christmas, we want to extend warm wishes to you for however you celebrate this time of year.

My discussion about the development of our annual Christmas card can be found here.

I also signed a few of the Christmas cards I sent out as a subtle inference that this 2004 winter photograph was created by me. I have not done this in the past, but thinking I might do this for the future, perhaps as a limited edition card with the edition number on the back.


December 22, 2017

Morning walks – off the grid

Filed under: Path to Somewhere, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 5:27 pm


Morning Walk, Tijeras Creek, Orange County 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This past week I decided to change-up my morning walk. Instead of traversing the local neighborhood sidewalks I ventured into the  adjacent park and dirt paths.  I realized this was an opportunity to exercise my experiment/play practice in conjunction with my Samsung S5; so I documented where I was going in conjunction with what else I noticed along the way.

Befitting my experiment/play practice I am enjoying the visual results of going off-road. I am now consider moving into another camera format and probably start carrying the Hasselblad along with a tripod to continue this exploration. This change will increase the load a little more as this also includes carrying the spot meter, so I may need to rethink my walking gear. With film, always the decision of what to use; black & white or color and if color, negative or positive? Some decisions to make before starting the next phase.

Since I do try to take an extended walk each morning I foresee the possibilities of this becoming over time a full blown photobook project. I can work on this while first finishing my Middle Ground project I hope to publish in Spring of 2018. Since I can be so easily distracted, I need to continually remind myself of my priorities.


December 15, 2017

Beach Walk – Newport Beach

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:02 am


Seaweed, Newport Beach, December 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

Last weekend I had a chance to leisurely walk the beach in a California State Park located just outside of Newport Beach, CA. This was a little confirmation that I still find myself drawn to creating black & white photographic images.

Although resembling a study with a view camera, most of this image and subsequent processing was completed with my Samsung S5 and SnapSeed. Today I did a little more contrast tweaking in Photoshop to tease out a bit more of the flow lines in the sand created by the receding surf. I was intrigued by the found-art design of the way the seaweed was naturally positioned by the surf. Serendipity that I took advantage of with my framing of the composition and subsequently working with the black and white conversion.

As a lark, I also added the “film” border to provide more of that Edward Weston view camera look. Very modern! (hopefully hints at being contemporary, but I doubt it)


December 4, 2017

MoPLA theme: Political Satire

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:03 am


Middle Ground, San Diego, June, 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I have been giving some thought to a MoPLA (Month of Photography Los Angeles) submission for my Middle Ground project. Which I need to sort out quickly as the deadline is December 5th. Yikes!

One submission category is Host Space Exhibitions and for that submission it requires: “a thematic body of work for exhibition consideration in one of our host spaces”.  Which bumps into an aspect of my Middle Ground project that I had not really considered before; what is is this thematic body of work?

Middle Ground investigates attempts by somebody in our government to construct something that leads to social alienation for America, a barrier situated between two countries, but I am not sure that “social alienation” is a theme but rather the subject of my project. Some classic themes are: the nude, urban landscape, portraiture, nature, culture, history, countries, abstract patterns, poetic, etc. Interestingly politics is a theme does arise on a few theme lists.

Thus thinking that Middle Ground‘s theme is political satire. So I will try to get some quick feedback on Facebook (and here if you would like to comment) in the next day or so to see if this might fly.

Second part of this submission is the openness of MoPLA curators to political satire? That I may not know for sure, but I am ready to try and find out.



August 7, 2017

Solving “Crunchy” photographs

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 12:18 am


Seaweed, San Clemente beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

A month ago I was discussing about my on-going summer beach series that I was posting on Instagram and when I was looking at the resulting print from this post, it appeared kind of “crunchy” (below). The foreground where the seaweed was has some odd halos and the I think the image was not smooth and continuous looking, especially as I was printing the image at 11 x 11″ and 15 x 15″.

In thinking about this I realized that on my monitor the photograph looked fine, but when I was saving it to a jpeg, I have a practice of adding one more un-sharpening to account for the softening by the jpeg conversion. Since this is a Samsung image, perhaps the last un-sharpening, which was not an issue for a Canon 5DMk3 image file, could be problematic for the these smaller files?

In returning to the original PS image and then repeating the steps to save the image as a jpeg but this time without sharpening & then subsequently reopening the file; presto! No crunchy image without halos! I had fallen victim to mindless file sharpening. So lessons learned (yes, also a re-do on some similar recent Samsung photo images)

Just to make sure you are not thinking that all of the visual changes between the two images is due to just not sharpening I also made some other image modifications. I decided that the soft blur effect in Snapseed for the photo below was also a bit over the top, as this was when I was still experimenting with this effect and I applying it a bit strong. Nevertheless I liked the softening effect of the pier to keep the viewer interacting with the seaweed and breaking surf. So for the image above, I added a slight Gaussian blur to the top third of the image to soften the pier. Last I reduced the overall contrast of the photograph while still attempting to keep a slight overcast appearance.



July 6, 2017

Seaweed, San Clemente beach

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 3:49 am


Seaweed, San Clemente beach, June 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of my recent experiment/fun projects has been to investigate photographic possibilities at the beach, which regretfully as a genre is a mine field of cliche photographs. So rather run from the obvious as I attempt to skirt around these cliches, the rather wonderful aspect of my process is if I am seduced into taking a photograph that appears to borders on cliche, just take it anyway! No worries! Who knows what might come of it?

I was intrigued by the abstract pattern of these three seaweed pieces that had recently washed ashore. The shore break of the surf was not that large and I could see a series of interesting patterns of surf and residuals as the tide receded. The colors were muted by the overcast sky thus the resulting photograph would be a bit more manageable as I converted this to a black & white image.

So I took a series of images of this composition as the surf broke on the beach and selected this one that seemed to best exemplify the potential abstract surf patterns. I also framed the image to include the distant San Clemente pier as another visual element anticipating that it was going to be out of focus that it might create a bit of visual push/pull and potential mystery.

One of the disadvantages of Snapseed for the initial image processing for posting on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) is the limited black and white conversion options. Nevertheless I think I was pretty close on my initial try and subsequently received a really good response on Instagram, enough to want me to further investigate the black & white conversion with Photoshop. This is the resulting photograph and in line with pre-visualization.

Available as a limited edition archival pigment print. Email me for current pricing for sizes and shipping of this photograph print.


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